The primary solution to reducing the number of ‘mass shootings‘ and ‘hate crimes’ and ‘gun violence’ that occur in our country is not another policy or law.
The solution lies in getting to and addressing the root issues that are driving people to conduct these horrific crimes.
These horrible crimes – misuse of guns – are not the problem. They are the symptom of the problem.
The real problem is that the hearts of the perpetrators are wounded and fragile. The perpetrators of mass shootings are looking for ways to act out towards others because they are hurting so badly deep on the inside.
When one’s heart is wounded, that person’s life will reflect the wounded condition of their heart… unless and until is is healed. And people with wounded hearts often wound other people. They can even shoot other people… sometimes many people at a time in a mass shooting.
Our society may call these mass shootings ‘hate crimes,’ but at the core, the emotion of hate directed towards others stems from unresolved deep issues of the heart – deep spiritual issues.
I believe we’ll see that there is also a dose response relationship between ACES scores and gun violence, similar to that of ACES scores and depression.
As I write this post, I’ve learned from a colleague about an article published on August 4th, 2019, in the LA Times titled Op-Ed: We have studied every mass shooting since 1966. Here’s what we’ve learned about the shooters. This is from the article: “The vast majority of mass shooters in our study experienced early childhood trauma and exposure to violence at a young age. The nature of their exposure included parental suicide, physical or sexual abuse, neglect, domestic violence, and/or severe bullying. The trauma was often a precursor to mental health concerns, including depression, anxiety, thought disorders or suicidality.”
In fact, the research by the authors of the referenced article above found that 45% percent of mass shooters since 1966 have experienced trauma in childhood – ACES. Their data also show that ‘threats of school violence should be seen as a plea for help.’
View this informative six-minute interview conducted August 6, 2019 on CBS News with psychologist Jillian Peterson, co-founder of The Violence Project and co-author of the Op Ed article.
ACES Prevention and Resilience
The emphasis in our country should not be policies. Yes policies and legislation related to gun control are important, but I don’t believe that they are the most important solution for reducing mass shootings.
The “heart of the issue” is the heart! Traumas that are experienced in childhood are a form of ‘spiritual risk factors’ for violence, including gun violence and mass shootings.
And spiritual risk factors such as these require spiritual solutions.
To read my call to action for our nation and faith based communities and leaders, please click the link that follows to read the rest of this post - Mass Shooting and ACES - Adverse Childhood Experiences.